How Did the Eskimos Get Their Name?
The word Eskimo means “eater of raw meat.” Northern Indians originally gave them this name because Eskimos eat some of their food raw. The Eskimos call themselves Inuit, meaning “the people.”
Eskimos get much of their food from the sea. They eat the flesh of seals, walruses, fishes, whales and sea birds. They boil some meat, but often eat it raw because fuel is so scarce. By eating the food raw, they also get needed vitamins and minerals. Many North American Eskimos live in towns today and eat their food cooked, just as we do.
Most Alaskans continue to accept the name “Eskimo,” particularly because “Inuit” refers only to the Inupiat of northern Alaska, the Inuit of Canada, and the Kalaallit of Greenland, and it is not a word in the Yupik languages of Alaska and Siberia.